Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for January 2009

Answers for Discouragement

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OK, Raise your hand if you can remember the first time you sat behind the steering wheel of a car, and someone said “OK, put it in drive and ease off the break.”   Everything was so new, getting adjusted to the seat, the mirrors, the steering wheel, the petals.  In the midst of that fresh wave of a sense of burgeoning independence I remember my day saying “Always look forward where you a re driving, dont get distracted and loose sight of the direction you are heading in.”  So that old Plymouth slowly jerked forward under my novice hands.  My father, a calm man, kept the reminder – look forward, keep looking where you are going.  And the car lunged forward in a vacant parking lot, far from the risk of collision with any other vehicle or building. 

Prior to that immersion in this adult pleasure and  responsibility I was the happy spectator, the pleasure rider who gazed out the windows at the sights, oblivious to the responsibility of hurling a vehicle at any speed down a road.  Gazing and sight seeing was ok in its season, and it still has merit, but when you sit behind the steering wheel there is no longer the time for pleasure sightseeing.  Eyes forward, mindful of every inch of the road ahead, looking for curves and turns, watching and anticipating changes in terraine and traffic. 

Living this christian life can often be compared to driving.  After coming to salvation we move down the road with Jesus, keeping our eyes on him.  Like driving, when you don;t watch forward you are vulnerabl to accidents and bad things occurring.  Loosing sight of Jesus can result in discouragement, and worse. 

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.    – Hebrews 12:1-2

There is nothing in this life that Jesus does not understand.  He has endured so much worse than we could ever imagine.  Is the economic news, the job news, the wars and rumors of war overwhelming you?  Look to Jesus.  Are you feeling blue because life is just not what you would like it to be, or you are not where you planned?  Look to Jesus.  Problems with health?  Look to Jesus.  Problems with family, relationships, friends?  Look to Jesus.

I challenge you to turn your gaze to Him, and allow him to drive because he knows your future and has plans for you that you will have a future and a hope.

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Written by Barbara Bloom

January 30, 2009 at 1:30 AM

Snow as a visual example

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white as snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snow has been following since yesterday afternoon.  Everything is blanketed with a thick coat of the frosty white stuff and it looks beautiful to look at from inside.  But it is cold, and it is biting to the skin. 

Come let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are as scarlet I will make them white as snow  – Isaiah 1

Visual reference to a powerful image of the work God is doing in my life.  My sin is covered by the pure holyness and grace of God.  I am made new, just like the landscape is made crisp and white. 

Thank you Lord that you love us even though you know our sins, and our nature.  May I keep my sin list short, and desire to grow more like you each day. Amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM

We love contests

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Log on to the following web site bog for a fabulous opportunity  to win a $50 dollar gift certificate to American Greetings web site.  You can design your own photo memory. 

http://www.thriftymommy.com/celebrating-our-2000th-post-with-a-50-american-greetings-giveaway/

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 28, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Posted in Contest

Change is challenging

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Today was the day… a day that started out ordinary as it could be with the usual… get dressed, get to work and get busy.  But there was an unspoken bitter tension in the air that you just cannot escape.  Tensions began to mount, and shortly after noon my coworker made no announcement – just started moving her things to another cubicle.  She is resentful of me because our boss called all of us to a higher level of professionalism.  We all have areas to improve, but our boss had the boldness and courage to be honest, and take stock in developing us. 

Tensions mounted when around 1p we all got an appointment for a meeting at 2:30p with the big boss.  What now!  Lord what now.  In the pit of my stomach I thought that he might be telling us we are done, thank you and file for unemployment.  So I prayed, and read the psalms, and prayed between my work. 

My boss appeared in the conference room looking like she heard the worst news of her life, holding back the tears.  They have made a plan to  transition us away from her leadership, and hired a new project leader to shepherd us.  We have our jobs.  We have a new boss who will assume full leadership slowly, as she comes on line. 

My heart sunk a bit.  We know our current boss.  She is predictable, she is fair, she keeps us informed.  What will this new person be?  Who can know.

So in the pit of my stomach is a dull ache.  Change is never easy nor does it seem good when the initial news drops like an atomic bomb on our ears.  But they that trust in the lord shall prosper.  I am turning my thoughts to the knowlege that everything falls from the hand of god.

So Lord, take this new challenge and gird up my bowels for it.  Grant me the wisdom to know how to proceed, and your wisdom to see things as they are, not as they might sound.  Be with my current boss in this challenging time, and give her peace to know that you have plans for her life.  Give me peace to know that you will never leave me nor forsake me.  Amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 21, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Posted in daily life, growth, prayer

Prone to wander, part III

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“Prone to wander, Lord I fear it.  Prone to leave the God I love.”

So goes my favorite hymn.  Months ago I posted about my wandering mind, wrestling with trying to find acceptance with my coworkers, and God’s insight into why there is no acceptance to be found.   Time has elapsed, and I remain conscious of how different I am and how I will probably never be accepted by them.  Acceptance is not really important but it would be nice to see our work environment more professional.  And it would be fabulous if both of them came to a place where they were opened to hearing the voice of God calling them to salvation. 

Lord, you know my heart.  I am sad that they are not willing to hear your voice, or know the depths of your love for them.  I yearn for them to come to salvation, and ask that you would continue to use me toward that end.  Help me to not return evil for evil, but bless them, and pray for them daily.  Amen

And I need to confess that I am still struggling with another issue.  For the last 15 years I have known a girl who grew up to be a youth missionary for a number of years. Wanting to encourage her I was one of her volunteers for several years.  She was very young in her faith, but she seemed passionate about spiritual things and kids.  Over time she stepped away from the youth work, then stepped away from church, then stepped away from God, and then stepped away from our friendship. 

Finding herself unemployed, and at a despirate finacial place she called me one day several years ago to ask if I knew of any job openings.  I knew of one, and thought she was a good fit for the work – asked her for a resume and went to my boss with it, personally vouching for her.  Not willing to trust in me alone, she went to someone who was a friend of hers. He happened to be senior management of the company.  She got the job, and when I expressed my joy she reminded me that it was due to her friend in senior management.  My heart sunk for a moment.  “No, I don;t need the glory – thank you lord for humbling me on this” I thought, and I moved on to celebrate with her this great opportunity.  She began working with me, and quickly she showed a different side.  She was harsh, aggressive, and there was little of any thought that we had been friends for years.  As time went on, she got colder and less friendly to me.  She now only talks to me if I say something first.  There are no vestages of our friendship left.  And there are no reminents of faith in her, in fact anything related to faith, or God’s Word, or Christ are ridiculed and a source of distane to her.

I see her in the hall, or she will come and talk with my coworkers and there is something about her that sets my soul to grieve.  How can you step away from the greatness of God’s love and salvation and give your heart back to the world?  How can you taste the sweetness of salvation and ever walk away from it?  My favorite hymn reminds me that we are all “prone to wander” when we are left to our own strength, but the hope, and the promise is in committing our live back into the hands of God because he is faithful to keep that which is given to him.   So my heart is sad because I don;t think my friend ever committed her life, her soul, her heart to God.  She may have shown outward signs of response to God at some point, but the change was not internalized.  She has layed aside the powerful truth of God’s word for the wisdom of this world. 

Lord, here I am again.  You know how many times I have come back to you asking that you would bless her, return her to salvation, open her eyes to your truth.  For this season sin is sweet and irrisistable, but I am asking you to show her the emptyness of sin.  She has heard your word- and you promise that your word will never return void.  Take your word and awaken it in her soul until she must acknowlege you as Lord and Savior.  Save her heart and soul and retore her to salvation. 

And Lord, I give this back to you, acknowleging that I can only love her and pray for her.  Forgive me for the times when I have felt upset and frustrated withwhat I see.  I return to you knowing that I am in your watchcare.  Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 20, 2009 at 1:10 AM

Death, loss and grief

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One of the saddest phrases of the bible is “they died and they were gathered to their people.”   Sad because that one solitary life impacted so many people, added some unique qualities that made life more bright. 

Chapter 23 takes us to a place of grieving.  Sarah has lived a long life of 127 years, given birth in her old age to a son, and known a life filled with joy.  Abraham finds himself needing to make arrangements for her funeral.  The process of buying a cave was a very open public discussion, with every detail done in the plain view of the tribe. 

We see Abraham being strong, negotiating for the land, and showing his character that refused to just take the land, but instead to pay market value.  And his assets are liquid – he is able to draw out a sack with silver, and pay specifically the asking price on teh spot.

While the transaction is very public, his grief seems intimate, private.  Grief is very personal, very intimate, very in your face.  No other person on earth can fully understand how Abraham must have felt to bury his wife of so many years.  She was his helpmate for decades.  They grew old together.  They traveled together, they wrestled with issues together.  They watched life from the safety of their strong marriage, together.  Now for the first time Abraham would not have this companionship.  His tent would be more empty, quiet, lonely. 

This is a hard lesson each of us will face, whether it is to bury a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse.  Death impacts us in deep ways.  While it is 16 years since I buried my mother I still have times when grief rises up to overwhelm me.  Maybe it is in a smell of something cooking or in the sight of the first snow.  Memories flood in, and the depth of the loss is again fresh and apparent. 

But grief and loss are one day going to melt away when we stand in heaven in the presence of our savior, and our loved ones are there, made whole and free of the bonds of sin and death.  Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 19, 2009 at 9:01 PM

Sarah – Seeking answers

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As I continue to read through Genesis another lesson is emerging before my eyes. Sarah and Abraham have wrestled with barreness, and with the words of God that Abraham would be the father of many nations. At one point Sarah takes matters into her own hands and offers her servant Hagar as a surrogate mother. The servant becomes pregnant and gives birth to Ishmael, Abraham’s son.

But from that point Sarah remains jealous, and expresses her hatred for this servant, and Ishmael. Years later, God grants Sarah the ability to concieve and give birth to Isaac, and in the midst of the joy and celebration of chapter 21 Sarah’s eyes turn to see Hagar. She remains angry and jealous of Hagar. The tension between these two women must have been unbearably challenging. By rule of law, first born is typically the power broker of the family, the leader, the one granted the inheritance. Maybe this is the tension, or maybe it is the fact that the servant Hagar is egyptian, or maybe the servant has become arrogant about being a mother of one of Abraham;s children. Scripture doesn;t spell the details out, but it does speak of the tension, and of Abraham taking the issue to God in prayer.

So here is a lesson to be learned. God promised Abraham a descendant without the obvious detail of how this would occur. Sarah took this as a challenge to look for answers. Searching is ok, but one thing neither of them did was lay their thoughts out before the lord. As a result what seemed like a momentary solution has become a geneational struggle for acceptance and power between the people of Ishmael and the people of Isaac….which I interpret as the Jews and the ARabs. The relational tensions between the two women must have been harsh to live with.

Application question– What in my life is unanswered, or unresolved and am I laying it before the lord or seeking my own answers to it?

Teach me Lord to look to you for answers that are not apparent right now.  Give me the discipline to wait on you for your answer, in your time.  Grant me the grace to accept your answer, and your timing in the matter.  Please keep me and help me to remain in your perfect will, and not just your permissible will.   Amen

Application question – What problems have I created by moving ahead of God, or seeking solutions that are beyond his plan for my life?

Thank you Lord for still being there, and walking with me through this life.  I have made mistakes, and sinned by running ahead of you.  Look at my life now and forgive me for my actions and thoughts.  My life is in your hands, and the mistakes are ever present in my life.  Show me now how to move forward, and use the mistakes to change me, redirect me, focus me back to your perfect will. Grant, I pray, grace for this day, and peace to accept what cannot be changed in my life.  Amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 19, 2009 at 7:19 PM